Two in five under 30s in Bedford still not vaccinated against Covid
Don't "die of ignorance" warns professor
Around two in five under 30s in Bedford have yet to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, figures suggest – weeks after they were invited to get their first jab.
Despite renewed appeals and a host of pop-up vaccination centres, the latest statistics suggest a hesitancy among some people aged between 18 and 29.
Professor Adam Finn, member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, believes many younger people think they are safe from the virus despite a recent surge in Covid hospital admissions, and warned people "not to die of ignorance".
NHS England data shows in Bedford, 17,511 people aged between 18 and 29 had received a first dose of a vaccine by August 7 – at least 61 per cent of the age group, based on the number of people on the National Immunisation Management Service.
It meant around 39 per cent of this cohort were yet to receive a jab at that point, compared to 22 per cent among adults of all ages.
The low vaccination rate among younger people comes amid a warning from NHS England that more than a fifth of those currently being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are aged between 18 and 34 – a figure that is four times higher than the peak last winter.
Prof Finn, who advises the Government on the vaccine programme, said he sensed a perception among many young adults that they are not at risk from the virus, unlike those from older age groups.
He said: "We are now seeing people who are young and previously healthy getting seriously ill, so it would be correct to adjust that perception.
"It is important not to die of ignorance – if you really know the facts about the disease and know the facts about vaccinations, going and getting the vaccination is a complete no-brainer."
Vicky Head, director of Public Health at Bedford Borough Council, said: “Over 60 per cent of adults aged 18 to 29 have already had their first Covid-19 vaccination, which is fantastic.
“From Monday those who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to self-isolate if they are ‘pinged’ by NHS Test & Trace, and the Government has said that from the end of September people attending nightclubs and other crowded venues will need to be fully vaccinated.
"I’m encouraging everyone to get vaccinated now, to protect each other and to make sure you don’t miss out.”
In the East of England, neighbouring Luton had the highest estimated proportion of people aged between 18 and 29 not jabbed by August 7 at 51 per cent.